A dominating performance by Oklahoma State pitcher Jon Perrin, and some early offense from the Cowboys, dashed any hope of the Kansas State baseball team making up ground in the Big 12 standings on Friday night, as the Wildcats lost 8-0 at Tointon Family Stadium.
The seventh-ranked Cowboys (36-13, 14-5 Big 12) roughed up K-State starter Levi MaVorhis for five runs on eight hits in just 2 2/3 innings of work to keep pace with TCU in their hunt for the Big 12 title.
K-State was stymied by Perrin’s 129-pitch, four-hit shutout — his second of the season — as it fell a game closer to missing the Big 12 tournament.
“He just wore us down, beat us up, and we couldn’t get any spark back offensively,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “Down 5-0 early, you have to be able to find some ways to score some runs and get some momentum on our side.”
The Cowboys got to MaVorhis with two runs in the first inning, and another in the second, and two more in the third.
Senior centerfielder Ross Kivett did provide K-State fans with some entertainment in the bottom of the third on a highlight-reel, no-look over-the-shoulder catch on a fly ball from Tanner Krietemeier.
On the play, Kivett, racing toward the centerfield wall seemed to look away from the ball and toward the wall as it landed squarely in his glove for the first out of the inning.
“Yeah, that was a pretty amazing catch, but he’s a pretty amazing player,” Hill said.
As good as Kivett’s play was, it just wasn’t enough to get the Wildcats (24-26, 4-15) over the top.
K-State had just four hits in the game as Perrin was locked-in, retiring the first seven batters he faced and finishing with 10 strikeouts.
Perrin, who boasts a Big 12-best 1.30 ERA in conference games, improved to 6-3 on the season.
“You gotta knock some two-out hits,” Kivett said. “You get guys in scoring position — with two outs — it doesn’t happen often. But you gotta give credit to (Perrin). He really kept us off balance and threw it pretty well.”
MaVorhis (5-7) couldn’t seem to get going for K-State on the mound, as he failed to get out of the third inning, giving way to releiver Landon Busch.
“(Mavorhis) just left too many pitches up in the zone, and made mistakes at the wrong times,” Hill said. “He didn’t have his changeup, which is kind of his bread and butter.”
The Cowboys pushed their lead to 7-0 in the fifth inning when Tim Arakawa tagged Busch with a two-run home run to right center. Busch would finish the night pitching 3 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits.
Reliever Jordan Witcig capped the night on the mound for K-State — pitching a scoreless final three innings, with no hits and just one walk to prevent further damage.
“(Witcig) did a good job,” Hill said. “He came in… threw strikes, mixed it up a little bit. The main thing is he got strike one, was throwing the ball down in the zone firm, and they made outs.”
Blair DeBord, Carter Yagi, Austin Fisher and Mitch Meyer had the only hits in the game for K-State.